What is Forest Schools?
Forest Schools originated in Scandinavia in the 1950s as a way of learning about the natural world, by the 1980s they had become an integral part of the Danish early years program. Forest Schools are successful for children of all ages who visit the same woodlands on a regular basis. Through play, they learn about the natural environment, how to handle risks and most importantly to use their own initiative to solve problems and co-operate with others. Sessions run throughout the year in all weathers. Children explore, play, learn boundaries of behaviour and grow in confidence, self-esteem and motivation.
At Summerfield Primary School Forest Schools provides a nurturing space that supports our children’s wellbeing by providing and implementing positive, outdoor, child centred experiences in a natural setting. Children develop resilience by learning new skills and persisting with challenges. In Forest School sessions children develop their sense of responsibility and themselves as members of the community by working together. For example, the children in Nursery and Reception work together to negotiate tasks and to maintain and nurture the Forest School allotment. Children learn to manage their own needs for example in Nursery children are taught to use tools safety and understanding the need to wear PPE. In Reception children develop this further by selecting the resources and tools they need to carry out their own plan.
In the Early Years children have their own Forest School area which they help to take care of and develop. The outdoors is part of our continuous provision, children are able to access it throughout the day. The Forest School area is used daily by the children with sessions run by our level three Forest School teachers; Ms Knight and Mrs Walker.
Children are active, take ownership of their learning and develop their self-esteem through a variety of independent tasks they take ownership of. Children develop knowledge of sustainability and respect for their learning environment and the outdoors as a whole. Children develop their teamwork skills and increase their capability to work together to solve problems in a variety of ways, taking into account one another’s ideas. Positive relationships are built through these sessions and children are both enabled and empowered to achieve their holistic potential.